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PowerBlock has been a longstanding staple in the world of the best adjustable dumbbells and for a long time was a favorite of GGR founder Coop Mitchell. Since PowerBlock’s introduction to the home gym space, however, a lot of brands have innovated on the idea of adjustable dumbbells, leaving us to favor dumbbells from Snode, Pepin, Ironmaster, and NÜOBELLs as well. And PowerBlock hasn’t released a new dumbbell to combat these other brands in quite some time.

RELATED: NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells Review

Finally, though, a new series of PowerBlocks have arrived: the Pro 100 EXP dumbbells. These are built off of their previous dumbbells with a couple of design improvements—and as durable as ever. But do they stack up with the competition? Will Coop call these dumbbells his favorite again? Find out in our PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells review.

Been Around the (Power) Block with Dumbbells

Coop and our other testers at Garage Gym Reviews have tested dozens of adjustable and traditional dumbbells. Along with the experience of handling adjustable dumbbells, our team has expertise in the fitness industry, consisting of certified trainers and coaches, plus lifelong athletes. We’re around these products in and out of work, and are sure to give you our honest review about every piece of equipment we test.

For the Pro 100 EXP, Coop and GGR Everything lead reviewer Lindsay Scheele tried out the pair of dumbbells, taking them through multiple exercises, noting qualities of the dumbbells, such as:

  • Weight sizing
  • Durability
  • The dumbbell handle
  • Optionality
  • Overall value

To determine the value of the dumbbells, Coop tried bench press, biceps curls, rows, goblet squats, and more.

Powerblock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

Powerblock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Adjustable dumbbells ranging from 5 to 100 lbs
  • First stage goes to 40 lbs
  • 3 expansion kits that works up to 100 lbs
  • Optional knurled grip
  • 19.2” L x 7.6” W x 7.7” H
  • Adjustable in 2.5-lb or 5-lb increments
  • Add-on to use as kettlebell, with future EZ curl bar and straight bar add-ons

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Replaces 30 pairs of dumbbells
  • Optional knurled grip
  • Versatile add-ons

Cons

  • Long, bulkier set of dumbbells
  • Not the fastest change in weights
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

The Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells are the latest set of adjustable dumbbells from Powerblock, ranging from 5 pounds to 100 pounds with 2.5- or 5-pound increment adjustments. The dumbbells begin at their first stage of up to 40 pounds, with three expansion kits that can move the maximum weight up to 60, 80, or 100 pounds. The dumbbells have the option to have a metal knurling as well.

A Quick Look at the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells have been around for awhile now, and was actually Coop’s first piece of home gym equipment—a set he bought off of Craigslist. He ended up giving them to a friend after years of use and they worked just as well. One thing PowerBlock dumbbells have is durability, and the Pro 100 EXP is no different.

PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

Also having the PowerBlock Elite and PowerBlock Sport series, the EXP adjustable dumbbells are an update on the PowerBlock Pro Series. Instead of going to 90 pounds, the Pro 100 EXP—as you could guess—goes up to 100 pounds. The slight roundedness of the previous iteration’s edge has been replaced in favor of a square plate design to the dumbbells as well. You can check out previous iterations and lineups in our PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells review.

With a magnetic plastic pin, the dumbbells can be adjusted in 10-pound increments, but can be adjusted in 2.5- or 5-pound increments with metal tubes in the base handle. With these smaller increments, the adjustable dumbbell set is space-saving, replacing a full 30 sets of dumbbells.

Before You Buy

  • The Pro 100 EXP has four stages of kits: the first one going from 5 to 40 pounds, with each stage after adding up to 20 pounds to the base, all the way to 100 pounds with the fourth kit. Each additional kit adds $199 to the cost of the base kit.
  • The dumbbell comes with either a rubber grip or knurled handle; you can choose while making an order, and both cost the same price. The rubber grip wasn’t the worst grip, but if you prefer knurling to your dumbbells, it’s best to order that handle with the base kit.
  • PowerBlock has made some add-ons for the Pro 100 EXP, and are in the process of making more. Right now, they have an adjustable kettlebell handle that replaces the dumbbell handle. The kettlebell handle can rotate 90 degrees as well, allowing the dumbbell to be more comfortable during swings and other movements. A straight barbell and curl bar attachment are in the works, too.

Video Review

Are the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells Worth It?

The PowerBlock Pro EXP, like many of their other series, have the capability to go heavy, which is ideal for any strength training. Plus, with the expansion kits, beginning lifters can start with the base kit up to 40 pounds, and over time add kits to build to heavier weights. This is a great dumbbell that can grow with you.

Another perk of PowerBlocks is that they are durable. Already covered by a 5-year warranty, there are many reviews and comments about them lasting for years. They’re high-quality dumbbells made to last—and they’ve proven that in their 30 years as a company.

Man benching with the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

Are they worth a look at for your next home workout? It really depends on your needs. If the ability to build on with kits or durability are high priorities for you, then, yes, these can be a great option. However, these dumbbells are expensive, too, with all kits costing $1,086. It simply will be out of some people’s budget.

Compared to other brands, the price is a little higher than most as well. Pepin adjustable dumbbells will cost about $1,000 for the same weight, while Trulap adjustable dumbbells cost a little over $800 and go up to 92 pounds. It’s one of the pricier options at this weight range (even with time-tested durability), leading us to rate the value a middle-of-the-road 3 out of 5.

Additionally, the cage design, while it’s been improved to be a bit more open, can still limit your range of motion on some bodybuilding movements, especially at heavier weights. If you’re looking for the feel of a traditional dumbbell, then there may be better options available.

RELATED: PowerBlock vs Ironmaster Dumbbells

Great for:

  • Someone whose strength can grow with the dumbbells
  • Home gym users looking for a long-lasting, durable adjustable dumbbell
  • Lifters looking for a heavy max weight

Not recommended for:

  • Those wanting quicker weight adjustments in their dumbbells
  • Anyone looking for budget-friendly adjustable dumbbells
  • People who prefer the feel of traditional dumbbells

PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells Specs

Price$489 (Stage 1 Kit) to $1,086 (with all 4 kits)
Weight range5 – 40 lbs, with 3 additional kits that go up to 100 lbs
Weight increments2.5 to 5 lb increments
Number of dumbbells replaced30 pairs
Dimensions19.2” L X 7.6” W X 7.7” H
Handle diameter38 mm
Weight plate materialUrethane molded over steel plate
Warranty5-year limited

Using the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

The PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP is relatively easy to use and adjust weights, with a couple of exceptions…in the form of metal cylinders. The main adjustment mechanism is the magnetic selector pin, made of a polypropylene plastic, which GGR founder Coop notes has never broken on him. The pin slides out and into the correct color-coded weight level, allowing 10-pound changes to the dumbbells. With an auto-lock handle, the dumbbell is secure once placed and adjusted.

Selector pin for the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

To make smaller adjustments, the base handle has a couple of adder weights in the form of metal cylinders—each weighing 2.5 pounds. Sliding one or both of these weights in or out of the base allows for 2.5- or 5- pound adjustments. Where this can be an issue is that the color-coded label describing weight changes has no mention of the adder weights. There may be some lifters not realizing you can make these finer weight adjustments.

Metal cylinder weights in the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

While in use, the dumbbells are pretty balanced, more so at heavier weights. PowerBlock says this is their most balanced dumbbell yet, which Coop notes he doesn’t feel a difference; they’re mostly balanced, except for at lighter weights. “Once you have the metal cylinders in your handle, they kind of offset the weight a little bit,” Coop says. “When you’re using a lighter weight, the balance of PowerBlocks—these specifically—is weighted down toward the cylinders.”

Man pressing with the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

The PowerBlocks are more of a cage design than most adjustable dumbbells; whether or not this is an issue is up to your preference. Coop doesn’t mind the blockiness of the dumbbells, and actually thinks the aesthetic is improved by going back to the square shape, but GGR Everything lead reviewer Lindsay Scheele disagrees.

“I don’t love the squared-in PowerBlock style and prefer something like the Snode AD80, but this is a personal preference,” Lindsay explains. “You can still do a lot of bodybuilding movements like bench, overhead press, and rows. You might struggle to do things like goblet squats and Arnold presses, though.” For this, Lindsay gives the dumbbells a 3.5 out of 5 while in use.

RELATED: PowerBlock vs Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells

Footprint

The Pro 100 EXP has a compact design, although it doesn’t quite feel that way while in use. Although the same length as most other adjustable dumbbells at heavy weights, the block construction makes them feel bulkier than other dumbbells.

With that said, these dumbbells don’t need a lot of space, being just over 19 inches long at their largest weight. Additionally, the full 100-pound set can replace 30 pairs of dumbbells, saving you tons of space in your home gym. 

Man holding the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

When paired with a weight bench or an Olympic barbell and free weights, this will provide tons of functionality to your home gym without wasting much floor space at all. Plus, these dumbbells don’t require a weight cradle to make weight adjustments.

Durability & Construction

Typically, we don’t like it when adjustable dumbbells have a lot of plastic parts, as those can be weak spots in their construction. However, PowerBlock has created some of the most durable dumbbells over the years, leading us to rate this a 5 out of 5 for durability. The plastic used is durable and high-quality, such as the polypropylene of the selector pin. The weights are made of steel, but are coated in urethane for a durable finish.

Man adjusting weights in the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

These aren’t the prettiest dumbbells we’ve seen though, only getting a 3.5 out of 5 in our rating of the aesthetics. Lindsay explains, “The dumbbells are just black with small color-coding throughout to show the weight increment changes. The caged look isn’t my favorite either; there are better-looking dumbbells out there in my opinion.” The label to help with the color code is also a sticker, which is hard to see with so many companies moving to laser-etching and laser-cutting.

Label explaining the color-coding system of the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

The Handle

The handle comes in two ways, either a rubber grip or a knurled handle. We tried out the rubber grip, and while we didn’t mind the grip at all, Coop is a fan of knurling. It’s nice to have the option at the start of the order, plus the price doesn’t change for either. So whether or not you like knurling, these dumbbells can suit your needs.

RELATED: What Is Barbell Knurling and Why It Matters

The handle is 38 millimeters, which is a tad on the thicker side. While Coop likes thicker handles for dumbbells and kettlebells, if you’re looking for more of a barbell feel, this will be a little too thick. For this, we gave the handle a 3 out of 5.

Dumbbell handle of the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP

We also had a chance to try out the kettlebell handle add-on. Surprisingly, it’s knurled and thinner than the dumbbell handle, which Coop says he’d prefer it thicker and without knurling. Still, the handle can rotate to allow more functionality with the kettlebell, allowing for kettlebell swings with no danger of the long dumbbell hitting your legs.

PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP vs Snode AD80 

Snode AD80

Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Weight ranges from 10 to 80 lbs
  • 10-lb weight increments
  • 36mm handle diameter
  • Cast iron dumbbell cradle
  • Feels like a pro-style dumbbell

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Cast iron cradles
  • Drop-proof design from up to 32”
  • Solid cast iron dumbbell plates with dovetail design
  • Flat dumbbell heads
  • Knurled handle

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Longer dumbbell
  • Only jumps in 10-lb increments

Bottom Line

The Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells are a durable pair of adjustable dumbbells that cover a broad range of dumbbell weights. If only having 10-pound increments is alright with you, these are a solid choice of dumbbell, strong enough to withstand drops from up to 32 inches.

What is better to compare a durable dumbbell to than a dumbbell with a warranty to cover its durability? The Snode AD80 is a dumbbell with a 2-year warranty; while that’s not as long as the 5-year warranty of the Pro 100 EXP, the Snode dumbbells are covered for drops as well, from a height of 32 inches. While the AD80 hasn’t stood the test of time that PowerBlock has, in our testing it was very durable, and the warranty covering drops is a confidence boost for sure.

Looking at the cost, the Snode is the cheaper investment, as even just up to the 80-pound kit, the PowerBlocks are $887. Still, if you’re looking for heavy dumbbells, the PowerBlocks have the option for another expansion kit beyond that.

Each dumbbell has their own minor details that may sway you as well. The 10-pound adjustments of the Snode don’t provide the finer weight adjustments of the PowerBlock. At the same time, changing the weights on the Snode will be much quicker. Finally, the Snode will have more of a traditional dumbbell feel, and won’t feel as bulky while in use.

For more information on these dumbbells, check out our in-depth Snode adjustable dumbbells review.

PowerBlock Pro 100 EXPSnode AD80
Price$489 (Stage 1 Kit) to $1,086 (with all 4 kits)$795
Weight range5 – 40 lbs, with 3 additional kits that go up to 100 lbs10-80 lbs
Weight increments2.5 to 5 lbs10 lbs
Number of dumbbells replaced30 pairs8 pairs
Dimensions19.2” L X 7.6” W X 7.7” H18.11” L x 6.68” W x 6.68” H
Handle diameter38 mm36 mm
Weight plate materialUrethane molded over steel plateCast iron
Warranty5-year limited2 years, includes drops

Customer Experience 

When it comes to warranties and returns, these dumbbells scored a 4 out of 5, mostly for a good warranty. The Pro 100 EXP dumbbells are covered by a 5-year limited warranty, which is longer than most adjustable dumbbells.

They also allow for 30-day returns, although returned items are subject to a 20% restocking and processing fee. Items are preferred in their original packaging, but must be in their original condition.

Customer service was extremely helpful, leading Lindsay to rate the experience a 5 out of 5. “They got back to me within an hour, answered my questions, and overall were really helpful,” she says.

Ordering and Assembling the Powerblock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

Ordering the Pro 100 EXP is simply done on the website, and for those wanting to buy expansion kits, PowerBlock has a separate section to choose the kits you want and need. Financing is offered through Klarna.

“There’s not much setup required for the PowerBlocks,” Lindsay remarks. “It should take one person under 10 minutes to get the dumbbells ready to go.” This led Lindsay to rate the delivery and setup a 5 out of 5.

Customer Reviews

PowerBlock appears to not have customer reviews on its site, and I wasn’t able to find any reviews elsewhere. However, from Coop’s YouTube review, many comments spoke highly of their experience with PowerBlock dumbbells in general, remarking on their longevity. Many users commented on having the same set for decades long before upgrading.

One common complaint was to have a knurled option. Previous sets didn’t have the option for knurling, which PowerBlock has now followed through with the optional knurled handle for the Pro EXP dumbbells.

Final Verdict of Our Powerblock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells Review

While there are plenty of great adjustable dumbbells available, a tried and tested brand is PowerBlock. The updated Pro 100 EXP is a solid addition from them. While the cage design can be bulky for some, the durability of these dumbbells will last for years.

Man doing curls with the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

Although this set of dumbbells might be out of the budget of some home gym owners, if you’re looking for a pair of dumbbells that will last in your home gym and cover 30 pairs of fixed dumbbells, then the PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP dumbbells are a fantastic choice.

Powerblock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells Rating

PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells

A longstanding brand in adjustable dumbbells, see how PowerBlock’s latest offering of dumbbells fare in our PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells review.

Product Brand: PowerBlock

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 489

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4
Weight Sizing – 4
Delivery and Setup – 5
Handle – 3
Durability – 5
In Use – 4.5
Optionality – 3.5
Aesthetics – 4.5
Value – 3
Warranty, Financing, Returns – 4
Customer Service – 5
Check Price

Powerblock Pro 100 EXP Dumbbells FAQs

Are PowerBlocks better than dumbbells?

PowerBlocks can be better than fixed dumbbells in some ways. With the ability to adjust weights, the PowerBlocks will save tons of space in a home gym by replacing a couple dozen sets of fixed dumbbells, in some cases more. A common complaint of the PowerBlock dumbbells is that they are bulky in their cage design, limiting some users in their range of motion on certain exercises.

Can PowerBlocks be dropped?

PowerBlocks are commonly known as some of the most durable adjustable dumbbells on the market. Accidents do happen, and more than likely, the PowerBlock will survive an accidental drop. With that said, you should never drop adjustable dumbbells on purpose, if you’re looking to make them last.

What weight can PowerBlocks go up to?

The PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP dumbbells start at 5 pounds and can go all the way up to 100 pounds.

Further reading

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